2012 TechStart Expo a HUGE Success!

 In #TAFLab, #TeamTAF

Last Saturday, more than 150 TechStart students, nine teachers, and about 200 family members, TAF staff, program partners and supporters gathered at the Brockey Center at South Seattle Community College for the fourth annual TechStart Expo.

The Expo kicked off with presentations by 5th grade TechStart students from Mount View and Highlands Elementaries. Students from our two TechStart in-school sites created games or animated presentations on their science curriculum topics–Nutrition, Earth & Space–through the programming platform Scratch. (A highlight: a Highlands student’s video game on the importance of fiber for the digestive system! She kept it clean….) Next, Genesee Learning Space’s middle school students, led by their instructor, Ms. Monique Franklin, presented websites they’d developed throughout spring quarter. These remained on display throughout the day for all students and visitors to browse.

DSCN4595-300x225And finally…the robots!! TechStart 3rd-6th graders from Highline and Seattle competed in three robotics challenges: Mini-golf, Obstacle Course and Drag Race. Competition was fierce, and students’ engineering ingenuity shone on the Brockey Center Stage. Volunteer judges from Boeing, Microsoft and the Spring Creek Group, assisted by TechStart curriculum developer Emma Anderson, tallied challenge points, called close finishes (they even had to consult the camera a couple of times!), added points for style and presentation, and at 2:00pm announced the grand champions: The Hilltop Elementary Techno-Huskies! Ms. McMillin and her Monday/Wednesday class received the coveted TechStart Lego trophy (filled, as a bonus, with Lego-shaped candy), which will remain on display at Hilltop for the coming 2012-2013 school year.

DSCN4581-300x225Between student presentations, the Expo program was punctuated with graduation awards, raffle prizes, an impromptu rap performance by local artist Furious Styles (aka Expo volunteer Aleca Gleser), and acknowledgement of volunteers, teachers, parents, and above all, the 330 students who participated in TechStart this year. Kudos to all our students for making TechStart what it is!

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